The Issues of Citizenship Education

Essay by sahmed10 January 2006

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In this assignment I have been given the task of selecting a contemporary educational issue and discussing the contrasting viewpoints on that particular issue. In regards to the task I have chosen to discuss about 'citizenship education' which has been a highly debatable topic in the recent era as well as in the past decades.

So, what is citizenship? And what is the relationship between citizenship and education? Addressing the first question in light of Benn's (2000) research, it has been considered that citizenship is difficult to define and that it is country-dependant. However from a British perspective, she considers that citizenship is the "involvement in social networks, in the groups, organisations and voluntary associations that connect citizens with the life of their communities." Expanding on this Holden (1999) addresses the growing concern that the younger generation are leaving school without knowledge or interest of issues within their community and political issues as a whole.

The main reason for this appears to be an insufficient moral and social education, where there has been little teaching of 'political literacy'.

In an educational context, as in answer to the second question, the subject of citizenship provides learning opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to play an effective role in a society at local, national and international levels. Defining citizenship in education, Fogelman (1997) says "We define the subject (citizenship) in a broad way to concern the relationship between individuals and the world they live in. It relates not only to this country but to the European Community and the world as a whole. It concerns the institutions of democracy and the rights and responsibilities of individuals in a democratic society." Reehers and Cammarano (1997) beautifully synthesizing education and citizenship say 'first, we must remember that there is no division between...